Cubs News

2023 Cubs Road Trip Preview: Los Angeles and Oakland

1 year agoTony Andracki

The Cubs hit the road for an early-season West Coast trip featuring 3 games in Los Angeles against the Dodgers and then a 3-game set squaring off with the A’s in Oakland.

Last season was a rough go of it for David Ross’ squad against the Dodgers, as they went 0-7. In fact, the Cubs’ last win in Los Angeles came on June 24, 2021…when Zach Davies and a trio of relievers combined to toss a no-hitter.

The Cubs haven’t been in Oakland since Aug. 5-7, 2016 when Ross was in uniform as a player and he and his teammates rattled off a 3-game sweep.

The Dodgers boast one of the best rosters in baseball even after losing Trea Turner in the offseason. Mookie Betts and Co. carry a 7-6 record into the weekend series.

The A’s are in the early stages of a rebuild and have one of the worst records in the league (3-10).

Pitching probables

Los Angeles

Friday: LHP Justin Steele vs. RHP Noah Syndergaard
Saturday: RHP Jameson Taillon vs. RHP Michael Grove
Sunday: LHP Drew Smyly vs. LHP Julio Urias

Steele has been lights out this season, following suit with staff ace Marcus Stroman. The young southpaw has only permitted 1 run across his first 2 starts of the year with 11 strikeouts in 12 innings.

Taillon (7.00 ERA) and Smyly (6.52 ERA) are both looking to build off some encouraging signs their last time out.

The Cubs will miss future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw in this series and Dodgers ace Walker Buehler isn’t expected to pitch this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last August.

Syndergaard and former Cub Shelby Miller were the Dodgers’ main pitching additions this offseason.


Monday: RHP Hayden Wesneski vs. LHP Kyle Muller
Tuesday: RHP Marcus Stroman vs. LHP Ken Waldichuk
Wednesday: LHP Justin Steele vs. RHP James Kaprielian

Wesneski will be looking to right the ship after securing only 4 outs in his last start against the Mariners on Tuesday.

Stroman has turned in a quality start in each of his 3 outings this season.

Quote of the week

After designating Nico Hoerner the “new sheriff in town,” veteran catcher Yan Gomes stood at his locker Monday night and shared his perspective of this Cubs team early in the season.

“Getting off to a good start is for sure important for anybody,” Gomes said after the Cubs’ walk-off win. “But at the same time, I feel like it’s important to understand what we’re building here. The second half went really well last year. We lose a series or we lose a couple games that look ugly, we can’t hang our hats on it. We got way too good of a team, way too good of a coaching staff, way too good of a fanbase that is behind us every single game to hang our hats.

“I feel like we’ve built a team that from top to bottom can really do this. We got a lot of experience here. When something happens, we got 10-15 guys that have done it already. We got a lot better things going on that we can turn to different things here.”

Storylines to keep an eye on

—When the Cubs parted ways with Jason Heyward over the offseason, he signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers and wound up making the Opening Day roster. He’s in a backup outfield role but is off to a great start with 3 homers and 5 RBI in 8 games. This is the first time Heyward will be playing against the Cubs since the 2015 National League Division Series when he was with the Cardinals. He signed an 8-year deal with the Cubs after that season.

—On the flip side, this weekend will be a homecoming for Cody Bellinger if he plays (his girlfriend is due any day with the couple’s second child). He was drafted by the Dodgers in 2013 and spent his entire career in the organization before they non-tendered him in the offseason and he signed on with the Cubs.

—Oakland native Nico Hoerner will also have a homecoming during this road trip. He has never played a big-league game at the Oakland Coliseum.

—The Cubs should also have reinforcements joining this team throughout the road trip as both Seiya Suzuki and Brandon Hughes are nearing a return.

—Can the Cubs keep the good times rolling? They had a hot homestand but are in the midst of a tough part of their schedule with 10 of the next 13 games against a pair of powerhouse teams from the NL West (Dodgers, Padres).

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